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Music for Stress Management

Guest Article by Tracey Burchard

There are so many kinds of music - country western, classical, eastern, rap, pop, hip hop, rock and roll, soul...what kind of music are you listening to, and how is it affecting your level of stress?

Music moves us - listening to a sad song can make us feel melancholy, soft jazz piano can calm and soothe us, and rock can make us feel strong, excited, even free. Music has been proven to speed healing, is used in malls to put us in the mood to buy, in churches for inspiration and much more. So can you use music to influence your mood and lower your stress in your daily life? Absolutely.

First, consider your general mood. Are you normally stressed, happy, positive, sad, angry, fearful, even shy? Are there consistent times in your life that you would like to change your mood - maybe the drive home from work, or getting up in the morning, or maybe you stress at night, laying in bed, tossing and turning?

For's that low energy time around 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. I've usually been working since six in the morning or so, and I need a little pick up. For me, it could be a little Van Halen or White Snake, or maybe a little Santana. Other people may prefer some upbeat jazz, or pop music. It doesn't really matter, as long as it makes you feel good.

How does music influence our mood like this?

There are many ways music influences our mood. Music is energy - vibrations that have a certain frequency. As we listen to the music, our brainwaves may adjust to match the vibrations of the music. This is why music can be very effective for meditation and hypnosis, it can actually "entrain" the brain to enter a deeper, or more relaxed, aware state.

Your memories may also be part of the influence of music. Many times, the brain stores emotion alongside memories - if a song makes you blue, you might remember a time when you were really sad, and that song came on the radio, virtually anchoring itself to that sad feeling. Your brain would create a direct link between the song and the emotion, so every time you hear the song, that emotion is accessed as well.

Words can also have a large effect on us...there may be words in the music that really resonate with you, like in some inspirational songs. You may relate to the story of a song because of a similar experience. These things can strike a chord (pun intended) with you and alter your mood.

Many people listen to music in the background while they work, drive or do other things. They are not focused on the music, but their inner mind does take it in. If you listen to music with negative or harsh words or themes, you might want to consider that many times when listening to music, people have a tendency to enter into an altered state of awareness. The conscious mind is distracted with work, but the subconscious, or inner mind, is recording and storing it. This can actually cause you to feel more stress. If you listen to a lot of negative music or other media, consider that it can have a negative effect on your beliefs, thoughts, feelings and actions. Of course, listening to positive music can have a positive effect on your beliefs, thoughts feelings and actions.

You can use music as a tool to help you achieve the feelings that you want. If you want to have a more relaxed environment at work, play music that calms you and helps you to focus. There is music that is specifically designed to help you meditate, coaxing your brainwaves into a specific pattern. You can play upbeat music when cleaning the house or exercising. If you're feeling down you can listen to inspirational music.

Music can have a big influence on your mood, increasing your ability to relax, making you feel good, increasing your focus and much more. When you choose music for yourself and the people around you, consider how you want to feel, then choose music that can help produce that feeling.

Need help with your self-esteem? Author Tracey Burchard, Certified Hypnotist, Instructor and Life Coach helps clients nationwide with phone sessions, and has created a powerful series of self-improvement CDs using Emotive Visualization™, a mix of guided imagery, mental training and physical and emotional senses. She offers a free newsletter and free downloadable MP3 on her website at


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